Backpacking Checklist

[Note: This page is a copy of a post “Excel-based Backpacking Checklist” posted 12/30/12]

Finally, after a few months, I am finally ready to release it into the wild. My Excel-based backpacking checklist. I am a technology geek, so, instead of using something simple like a printed notepad or Microsoft Word document, I wanted to use a tool that can help me automatically calculate weights and whatnot on each trip, so I went with Excel, over my old method that was using Microsoft OneNote.


As you can see from the screenshot above, it is an example from an actual trip I took back in September 2012, and is loaded with a good selection of my gear. This is here as an example.

How I Use the Checklist

I have a base copy which I keep in a folder on my computer… C:\TRIPS, for example. For each trip I take, I create a folder with the date, as well as the destination. For the example included, I have the following folder: C:\Trips9.29.12 – NH – Flat Mountain Pond – Backpacking which denotes the date of leave, the state, the location, and the activity.

Within this directory, along with a copy of the backpacking checklist, I also include any downloaded trail maps, trip photos, contact information of those on the trip with me, etc. So I can keep it all organized together (see image below).


From there, I open the checklist up, set the trip information on the first page, and start checking off items I will be bringing (most of them pre-weighed), as I pack up my things.

Sections of the Checklist

The checklist is broken down into the following sections:

  • Overall Weight
    • This is the main/front sheet.
    • DO NOT edit the Total Weight section, this is calculated from all of the other sheets in the workbook.
  • Packs
    • A list of packs, notes, and their weights, for which one I am taking
  • Shelter
    • All shelter-related items… mainly tents
  • Sleep
    • Sleeping bags, pads, etc.
  • Fire
    • Things for making fire… lighter, tinder, firesteel, etc.
  • Undercarriage
    • An important part of the trip… things to take care of your undercarriage
  • Clothing
    • Take a guess…
  • Kitchen
    • Cooking + eating
  • Food
    • Do I need to explain?
  • Other
    • First Aid Kit, headlamps, paracord, etc. everything that does not fit into the other categories

The Columns

Each sheet, save for the first one, is broken down into the following columns:

  • A
    • Quantity
    • Used in calculating overall weight column – E
  • B
    • X’ed here if this item will not be brought. Used for pre-checking the list before packing.
  • C
    • Item name
  • D
    • Weight in ounces (oz)
    • Used in calculating overall weight column – E
    • At the bottom of each of the D columns is a sum of the total weights for all items on the page in ounces (oz)
  • E
    • Total Weight
    • Column A x Column D = Total Weight in ounces (oz)
    • Used in calculating overall weight on the main page.
    • At the bottom of each of the E columns is a sum of the total weights for all items on the page where a qty is specified in ounces (oz)
  • F
    • Notes – either overall or for the trip
    • Useful for post-trip notes on what was/wasn’t used.
  • The Total Weight of

Download the Checklist

Click here to view and/or download a copy!

A few notes before you download this checklist…

  • Please share the checklist with anyone you choose, but please leave a link or the logo within the workbook!
  • This is hosted on Microsoft SkyDrive, so it will automatically open for viewing within your browser if it is supported. This will allow you to see the workbook in a read-only mode.
    • If you would like to download it, click on the   FILE tab in the upper-left corner of your screen, choose Save As, and then click Download
  • Please send me any feedback as comments to this post! I would love to learn how I could improve this for myself and others who may use it.
  • I will post new blog posts with any updates to this workbook, so we can call it v1.0 for now.
  • The web-based excel application works just like your own client version of excel does, so use the tabs along the bottom to navigate to the different sheets in the workbook.

Enjoy the checklist! And please leave feedback!


2 thoughts on “Backpacking Checklist

  1. Pingback: So Fresh, So Dry. « Just Your Average Hiker

  2. Pingback: Packing a Backpack | Just Your Average Hiker

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